We work to achieve policies that address the concern of forest landowner’s ability to sell timber both in the U.S. and in the global wood supply chain.
We understand that markets underpin everything else that benefits society – jobs, rural economies, clean air, water, and sustained ecosystems.
We know that the real threats to private forests are market constraints. Our efforts are focused on strengthening and expanding markets for timber and wood fiber for the benefit of your bottom line, and ultimately, your success.
Creating more demand for timber products
FLA works closely with stakeholder, including federal agencies, consumer brands, and NGOs to emphasize that private forests are vast and sustainable, with the ability to deliver long-term resources to participate in opportunities to expand markets for timber related products.
Now that the Democrats have control of the House, will congressional leaders and President Donald Trump get to work on a plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure? The Trump Administration and congressional lawmakers have expressed a desire to pass and fund a massive infrastructure program. “Buy America” is the new motto for policymakers. At the request of the Administration, FLA commissioned a study to assess how a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill could affect the wood products value chain (“WPVC”) and demonstrate the economic impact the use of U.S. wood would have on the economy in rural America. FLA is advocating for language specifying the use of U.S. wood for federally funded projects. Increased infrastructure spending in areas such as roads, bridges, airports, pipelines, water transportation, schools, and rail ultimately will result in increased consumption of wood products, which in turn will ripple through the wood products value chain. This means wood and paper mills (primary and secondary manufacturing) along with logging and landowners (resource development and extraction) will benefit as well. The infrastructure plan will also boost consumer incomes through the additional jobs created, stimulating wood product demand for consumer products such as housing and furniture.
Building Grassroots Support to Impact Federal Law and Regulations
S.538 – Timber Innovation Act of 2017 (TIA): This legislation reinforces that the divisions of Research and Development, Forest Products Laboratory, and State and Private Forestry will focus a portion of their funding and research on increased development and use of innovative wood products in the building industry; authorizes the Wood Innovation Grant (WIG) program to advance the use of innovative wood products; incentivizes the retrofitting of existing sawmill facilities to locate in areas with high unemployment rates; and authorizes the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. In FY 2017, $8.3 million in federal funding was awarded through the WIG to support traditional wood utilization projects, expand wood energy markets, and promote using wood as a construction material in commercial buildings. The American Wood Council is spearheading the efforts for passage of the TIA or inclusion of the bill text into the Farm Bill through an alliance of forestry organizations. FLA is lending grassroots support to garner cosponsors and supporting AWC. Nationwide Approval of Building Codes for Mass Timber: Provide grassroots support to the American Wood Council’s effort for changes in the International Code Council’s (ICC) code to allow building officials at the county level nationwide to increase the capacity of construction of mass timber buildings, from 6 stories up to 18 stories. This effort would result in a potential market increase of 8%.
In 2016, the U.S. exported $38 billion in forestry products, with $3.4 billion accounting for lumber. Significant departments and programs exist within the Department of Commerce and Department of Agricultural Foreign Services to promote the use of lumber and wood products overseas, yet there is little understanding by these programs about the current oversupply of timber in the U.S., and near record low for stumpage fees. FLA will work with relevant federal agencies to:
- Improve U.S. market competitiveness for timber
- Communicate that private forests can deliver long-term resources to participate in expanded foreign markets for timber related products
- Promote the sustainability of U.S. forests in foreign markets • Serve as a resource on foreign trade missions, discussions, and programs
- Ensure government programs benefit the source of the natural resource supplier – not just supply markets
Forest landowners need markets, not a layer of extra costs
Private forest landowners are carrying on a legacy of economic and environmental benefits that our nation has enjoyed for nearly a century. However, the benefits generated by a productive forest are threatened today more than ever because of historically depressed markets. Weak markets are the primary factor that contributes to the loss of productive forest lands.
When you already have an overabundance of timber supply, resulting in timber prices at an all-time low for the last 50 years, adding a layer of extra costs and management to a family forest landowner increases the risk of consolidation, conversion of forestland to other uses, and ultimately a loss of our diverse southern forest landscape.
Owning and managing forests is not a business everyone easily understands, but its benefits touch us all. With a little help from our government and end-users to promote the health and sustainability of true working forests, family forests owners will proudly continue to provide economic and environmental benefits.
However, if our government, NGOs, and corporations fail to fully understand the current scope of the forests that deliver wood supplies and environmental benefits daily, then we will inevitably be sending family forest owners to further financial hardships. The result will be a loss of our diverse forest landscape, our forestry heritage, and all the benefits that family forest owners provide our society. Continue reading.